Lana Smiley and Masha McConaghy: Blockchain Technology and the Arts

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Lana Smiley a journalist at CoinTelegraph, has written a great piece called Blockchain and Arts: TOP-5 Projects Applying Blockchain in 2015. She talked to Masha McConaghy, a curator and co-founder of the Berlin-based startup, Ascribe, who outlined some of the most interesting art projects of 2015 that use Blockchain technology.

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“In the physical art world there is a great need in clean provenance. Here where blockchain technology will play an important role. In Germany, especially after the discovery of Gurlitt Collection the Provenance research became the most important topic. The unregulated art market is in need for transparency and regulation and blockchain can dress a lot of issues”.

Left Gallery

It is a digital gallery, launched by the successful Dutch, Berlin-based artist Harm van den Dorpel. The project helps artists selling their works which are “downloadable objects”. Left Gallery uses BitcoinCT as a payment option.


IkonoTV is the first television channel broadcasting art 24/7 in HD. The channel collaborates with more than 1000 international artists, over 200 collections, archives and the most significant museums of the world.  IkonoTV is using the Blockchain to make sure their artists are properly attributed. The technology is also applied to signing contracts cryptographically so that copyrights are always clear. The channel reaches a viewing audience of more than 300 million people.


Cointemporary is an online platform for exhibiting and selling artwork. The platform is dedicated to a single piece of art for 10 days, during which it is exhibited and can be sold for a fixed price in Bitcoins. After the work is sold or the 10 day period passes, the platform exhibits another piece of art for another 10 days. Cointemporary is a project by two Vienna-based artists, Valentin Ruhry and Andy Boot, that pioneered selling art for Bitcoin, and more recently blockchain-ascribed digital art. Masha McConaghy stated “they are going to dedicate the 2016 only to digital works”.


N3uro is a marketplace that sells thoughts. Literally. The platform captures brainwaves of people, and sells the recordings of those brainwaves as limited digital editions. Literally, they sell blockchain-ascribed brain scans. The official N3uro website states that “these limited digital editions are possible via a combination of copyright & contract law, and the bitcoin blockchain as an ownership registry”.



p dir=”ltr”>Plantoid is a Blockchain-based robot that uses Bitcoin donations to replicate itself. It hires artists to replicate and improve. Basically, it is a DAO that spans both the physical and electronic worlds, and raises questions about copyright and ownership. Quite an interesting invention that can make art “a living being that creates and replicates itself”.

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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